Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013: My Favorites

I had the hardest time narrowing down my list of favorites for this year. Although I haven't been doing too much cooking in the past month, 2013 was still a delicious year in my kitchen. I made quite a few recipes this year that became instant family favorites. You'll see a pattern appear in many of my selections: Quite a few of them involve bacon. I don't think it's any secret how my family feels about bacon. :)

10. Roasted potato and tomato gyro wraps

These wraps combine so many of my favorite things: crispy roasted potatoes, burstingly sweet roasted tomatoes, and feta cheese. This is definitely a "Cassie meal," as Greek flavors aren't Joe's favorite, but I love having this recipe in my arsenal for those nights when I'm having dinner by myself.

 My whole family loves this meal, and I love how easy these little cakes are to prepare. Using boxed stuffing makes them come together very quickly, and since this meal is made with staples, it's great for nights when I just don't know what to make -- or just really don't feel like cooking.

There are very few dishes that I want to make solely for the leftovers, but pot roast has definitely become one of them. I think I enjoy these patty melts the second night more than I enjoy the pot roast on the first night!

7. Completely homemade chicken noodle soup.

Chicken noodle soup is one of my very favorite comfort foods, and since I made it completely from scratch earlier this year I'll never look back. Honestly, I'm usually not one to enjoy spending hours upon hours in the kitchen (Christmas cookie baking notwithstanding), but this is one of those meals where I just love the whole process of preparing and eating it. It's so...soul-feeding. Chicken soup for the soul, if you will. (Ba-dum-ching.)

6. Avocado bacon tomato melts.

These melts are one of the most memorable meals I had this year. They're so simple but so incredibly flavorful. They're definitely best in the summer with thick, juicy, beefsteak tomatoes, but I wouldn't turn one of these away any time of the year.

5. Bacon cheddar burgers with corn and bacon relish.

No list of yearly favorites would be complete without a good burger, and this one? It's definitely the best burger I made this year, and probably the best burger I've ever made. After eating it on this burger, I made the corn and bacon relish no less than 5 times: I used it on chicken, on pork chops, in a quesadilla, and probably ate it directly from a bowl a few times too. I'm not too proud to admit that. Try it yourself and you'll know why.

4. Chipotle pork tostadas with pine-apple salsa

Joe still swears these tostadas are one of the best things I've ever made, and I have to admit that they are pretty incredible. They're slightly spicy, slightly sweet, a little crunchy, a little creamy, and completely delicious. The pineapple-apple salsa is just out of this world.

3. Jalapeno popper breakfast scramble

We love a good breakfast dish in our house, and this one is definitely a favorite. It hits all the same notes as a jalapeno popper (cheddar, cream cheese, jalapenos, and bacon), but it's all mixed up with hashbrowns and scrambled eggs to make one decadent, delicious breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner).

2. Peach BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with peach coleslaw.

I remember the night I made these for dinner very well, because it was completely silent in our house that night. We were all too busy eating these to speak or make any kind of noise other than the occasional "Mmm" or groan of culinary ecstasy. And that includes the boys! The peach BBQ sauce is perfect, smoky and spicy and sweet, and it's cooled down with a refreshing, crispy coleslaw made with peaches. In fact, these sandwiches would have been number one on my list, if it weren't for...

1. Sweet and spicy pork and asparagus stir fry.

There are very few dishes in this world that will make me shell out the money for asparagus out of season, but this stir fry is definitely one of them. This meal is universally enjoyed in our house, but especially by Andrew. He claims this as his "most favorite meal of all of them ever." I can't say that I blame him, actually. When asparagus is in season, we'll eat this three times a week. When it isn't, I'll cut it back to once a week. I can't think of a better reason than that to give it the number one position on my list of favorites.

As 2013 comes to a close, friends, and we get ready to ring in 2014, I just want to thank all of you who stopped by to visit this year -- who shared or pinned my recipes, who took the time to leave a sweet comment or send a sweet e-mail. I can't even tell you how much it all means to me. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for all of us -- but I can assure you that, at least here in my little corner of the internet, it's going to be delicious. Happy New Year!


Allison said...

I will use this post and your previous one to drive some new recipes to try. I've tried a bunch of your recipes, but somehow missed quite a few of these. I will agree, though, that the asparagus stir fry is fantastic and everyone in our family agrees. That reminds me that I should have it again!

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Ali @ JamHands.net said...

Happy New Year to one of my favorite blogs! :) Thank you for all of your delicious recipes. I really appreciate that you don't mind that I have made quite a few of your recipes during 2013 and put them on my blog. I hope you have a wonderful 2014!